Freshwater Habitat and Fish Passage Action Team
Milburnie Dam, Neuse River. Photo credit: APNEP staff
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Members participating with APNEP’s Decision Support Tools Action Team will pursue collaborative initiatives aligned with the following APNEP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) actions:
- B2.1 Facilitate the development and implementation of an integrated freshwater habitat protection strategy. This protection strategy will complement the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (CHPP), serving as a guide for inland waters. The plan will be a combined effort between North Carolina and Virginia, and it will include actions that address anadromous fish passage to and from spawning areas.
- B2.4 Facilitate the development of policies to minimize dredge and fill activities in naturalized areas and sensitive habitats. Policies will address direct as well as indirect dredge activities. Over time, the extensive drainage network in several coastal counties has become naturalized and provides important habitats for fish and wildlife. APNEP will work with its partners to ensure that these habitats are considered in maintenance of the network.
- B2.5 Facilitate protection of designated anadromous fish spawning areas and inland primary nursery areas from marina impacts. Consistent with regulations and best practices, new projects should be directed away from or minimize impacts to specially designated areas vital to fishery resources. Marina development in inland waters, if not carefully considered and implemented, can damage valuable estuarine habitats. This action also supports retrofitting at existing facilities to improve aquatic habitat, as well as support for programs that safely dispose of onboard waste that might be discharged in open waters.
- C4.1 Install fish ladders and eel-ways on existing dams and other permanent barriers. Fish ladders and eel-ways can preserve passage across dams that are otherwise providing societal benefits like drinking water supplies or electricity. APNEP will support the construction and maintenance of mechanisms for fish and eel passage around instream barriers.
- C4.2 Facilitate the removal of dams, culverts, and other in-stream barriers. Structures that have surpassed their designed lifespan or intended use will be targeted for removal. In-stream barriers scheduled for replacement also present opportunities to implement technologies that improve fish passage.
- C4.3 Restore degraded anadromous fish spawning habitats. Anadromous fish spawning habitat is dependent on suitable current velocities, adequate dissolved oxygen levels, and low turbidity. APNEP will work to support suitable hydrologic flows and restore submerged aquatic vegetation in streams and rivers that contain anadromous species.
- C4.4 Facilitate research to improve fish passage. APNEP will provide funding and support for research to improve fish passage. In-stream barriers will be studied to identify structures that may potentially be removed. Mechanisms for conveying anadromous species, such as fish ladders, will be considered and targeted for strategic locations.
For a more detailed explanation of these actions, APNEP’s CCMP can be found here.
APNEP staff support: Coley Hughes (primary), Jimmy Johnson (secondary)